Andrew Bogut is talking the talk but on Saturday night he walked the walk as his Sydney Kings knocked off Melbourne United in the second of their pre-season match-ups.
Bogut had 15 points, 15 rebounds and countless chatter to help drive his Kings to a 93-85 win over the reigning champions at a capacity State Basketball Centre.
The Kings led by 15 during the second term but again surrendered the lead to Melbourne before finding their defensive best in the final two minutes to claim the win.
The former NBA centre and Melbourne captain Chris Goulding continued their running discussion which started late in their first match-up on Thursday night which Melbourne won.
Goulding was excellent again with a game-high 21 points. His side will only get better with centre Josh Boone still to play, star point guard Casper Ware due to arrive late this week and an unnamed third import still to be signed.
Bogut demanded his side lift their intensity and they responded. The day before the game the Kings' senior players met and established three key points, most of them were defensive. Those points were certainly met this time.
“In Bendigo it wasn’t our sets or anything like that – it was our effort and tonight we brought that right from the tip,” Bogut said.
“We were strong and I adjusted how I was guarding their bigs so they weren’t getting open jumpers.
“You take solace in that they don’t have their imports yet but it’s about us, we want to get to where they are at, they are the best team in the league, just won a championship and are automatic with all their stuff.
“We are not there yet but this was a step towards that.”
Goulding said the Kings came out to hit his side hard and Melbourne had to respond better.
“I wouldn’t say there is a rivalry but you saw the way they started the game – they were trying to hit us, trying to take cheap shots and set a standard,” Goulding said.
“That really puts the competitive level up, it was cool game to be a part of, I just wish we could have got two in a row on them.”
He added Bogut was doing the lion’s share of the trash talking although Goulding did appear to take some joy in knocking down a long three in front of Bogut in the heat of the second half.
“I don’t talk to him,” Goulding said.
“There is no rivalry or anything like that – we are just two guys going against each other.
“He is super vocal out there towards his teammates, towards the refs and that’s the type of leader he is but we are not talking trash or anything like that.”
Goulding is smacking me, I’m smacking him ... that’s what you want.Andrew Bogut
In Bogut’s view the talk is going both ways and it will continue throughout the season.
“They are the top dog and we are coming in with all this hype, people are hyping us up, and we are trying to get to where they are at,” Bogut said.
“Goulding is smacking me, I’m smacking him, we are talking shit and that’s what you want.
“The fans pay good money to come and see that kind of effort you want and we need to continue that into our season.”
The NBL season is still a month away and the first meeting between the two clubs is not until November 5 at Melbourne Arena.
But on Saturday night’s form, both teams are ready to go now.
The NBL Blitz will begin on September 20 at Bendigo Stadium.